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Purple up for Iowa military kids

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Vincent De Groot
  • 185ARW Wing PA
Digital tiger stripe camouflage is the usual uniform of the day for members of the Iowa Air National Guard in Sioux City. Today however unit members joined with area school students and supporters from across the nation by wearing purple to show support for military children. 

According to the 4H military partnerships website, "Purple up day" was the creation of 4-H clubs in New Hampshire in 2011 as a way to show support for children of deployed members of the National Guard and Reserve.

Lori Risdal, Iowa Air National Guard 185th Air Refueling Wing Family Programs Manager, says over 11,000 children in Iowa are connected to the military.

She said burdens placed on family members are often unknown and wearing purple today, is one way for Iowans to show support for the sacrifices these families make.

Risdal says military children face many challenges unique to their situation, like having parents deployed for long periods of time.  She says deployments and family separations can be stressful times for children.

"Because many Iowa military families live in rural areas, they are separated from military installations where services are traditionally provided to military members and their families" said Risdal "This makes it is all the more important that our military children find support within their communities." 

Rather than using terms like Army green, Marine red, Air Force blue, Navy or Coast Guard blue, "Purple" was adopted from military organizations use of the term, when referring to a unified effort that does not belong to a specific military branch.

In Iowa today participants added photos of themselves wearing purple at #IAPurpleUp throughout the day as part of the activities.